WHEN BEACH BUM Steve Cotton and some of his kin stayed in our Downtown Casita in February he was gracious enough to leave these orchids as gesture of gracias.
Since then, this has been the morning scene as I breakfast on bagels and cream cheese lite or sometimes croissantitos and orange marmalade. It’s a good way to start my Mexican mornings. We moved the flower from the Casita to the Hacienda, obviously.
This was February, but not last month. Not last year either. But February of 2017. Except for a week or two fairly recently when it took a breather, this baby has sported orchids nonstop for more than two years.
THE POPULIST president Mexico elected last year got off to a rip-roaring start in December, his first month in office. He wasted no time in causing chaos. He’s known by his initials, AMLO.
Here’s what he did, if you can believe it. Mexico has a longstanding and, apparently increasing, problem with gasoline theft by organized gangs. Their favored modus operandi is to tap into a pipeline, preferably in the boonies, and siphon it into tanker trucks.
Mexico is a major oil producer and has lots of refineries.
AMLO’s solution to this problem is to stop sending gasoline via pipelines and to transport it instead in Pemex tanker trucks, often accompanied by armed patrols. The fly in this ointment is that you cannot send anywhere nearly as much gasoline by tanker trucks as you can by pipeline.
This has resulted in severe gasoline shortages in parts of the country. Alas, one of the heaviest hit parts is right here on my mountaintop.
Most of our gas stations are closed all day. The ones that occasionally have gasoline have lines up to a half-mile long. I drove by one yesterday afternoon just up the highway from the Hacienda.
Here is an apt analogy to AMLO’s solution to the pipeline thefts: Say you want to halt bank robberies. The obvious remedy is to remove money from banks, right? Unfortunately, while bank robbers won’t have access to money in the banks, neither will customers.
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The AMLO sandwich?
Until this situation gets resolved, we’re not wasting gasoline on our habitual weekly drives to the nearby capital city to high-brow shop at Costco and Superama.
We’re sticking close to home. The Honda still has nearly three-quarters of a tank of petrol because I filled up Dec. 31 and have driven little since.
Costco is where I’ve purchased hydroponic lettuce for our nightly salads for years. I used the final lettuce Thursday night. Since no supermarket where I live stocks hydroponic lettuce, I planned to switch to egg sandwiches.
I was planning on calling them AMLO sandwiches. It would have been a painful transition in spite of the fact that I like egg sandwiches. We are critters of habit.
But yesterday I decided to check the lettuce in our mountaintop supermarket. No hydroponic, of course. The store’s nod to highbrow is some sort of Italian greenery, so I bought four questionable bunches, brought them home and disinfected them.
No need to disinfect Costco’s hydroponic lettuce. It’s fast and easy.
We have bagels for only three mornings more, and the croissants are all gone. We’re just six weeks into AMLO’s six-year term.
This could get mighty ugly.
We are the bourgeoisie, so I guess we had it coming.
MOST EVERY morning following croissantitos and orange marmelade or Costco bagels and cream cheese lite, plus café americano negro, of course, we retire to the living room and sit on the red sofa.
The music machine is already playing. I turn that on before bagels or croissantitos. This morning it was Madeleine Peyroux who was serenading us. She’s been our morning music for quite a few weeks now.
And will remain so till we weary of her.
This is how the scene appeared this morning. It doesn’t last long because we are a very busy pair, but it lasts long enough to count.
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(Note: The rather loud tick, tock, tick you hear is my Aunt Ned’s (R.I.P.) antique wall clock which dates from about 1885. I date from somewhat later than that.)
THIS SUNDAY MORNING, I awoke and thought of Sundays of Long Ago, specifically when I was married to my second wife and living in Houston.
We had a routine. I’d retrieve the fat Houston Chronicle from the lawn, pour coffee for the two of us — maybe we ate something too, can’t recall — and back to bed we went for an hour or more, reading the newspaper. It was fun.
I wonder if the Houston Chronicle still publishes a print edition. The world has changed so much in the past two decades. Another former employer, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, does not. It’s only online.
Just like me.
But this morning, here at the Hacienda, a far cry from Houston and New Orleans in all aspects, after coffee and bagels and cream cheese (lite), I went out the veranda door to do a bit of yardwork.
Madeleine Peyroux was still singing on the music machine.
I deadheaded a few Birds of Paradise. I whacked back one of the small bougainvilleas. I picked up rotting golden datura blooms from the ground in the Willy-Nilly Zone. And I cut stalks of defunct aloe vera flowers.
The weather was wonderful, and it appears the rainy season, which long overstayed its welcome this year, may have retired till June. I pray so.
We have plenty of work planned around here,* and it awaits the genuine end of the rainy season because it’s outdoor work. Not work I will do, of course. Work that people I employ will do, guys who do cement and stone.
And colonial tile.
There are three arches in the veranda, as you can see in the photo. There are potted plants resting on the three ledges below. They sit on a dingy brick surface. In about a week, a guy will come and lay beautiful colonial tile. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this 15 years ago or even last year.
It will be a huge — Yuge! — improvement. I’ll post photos.
In the meantime, I wonder if my second ex-wife still reads the Sunday newspaper in bed. I almost emailed her this morning to inquire. But I didn’t.
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* More work than has been done by far since the Hacienda’s construction. Roofs will be razed. Stairs will be moved. Floors will be ripped up. The Jesus Patio will be destroyed. Fruit trees will fall. More on all that when it happens.